Role of the Holy Spirit and Jewish tradition in Jesus’ Baptism

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Why was Jesus baptized as he was born the Son of God without original sin? Jewish tradition and biblical role of the Holy Spirit explain the reason for Jesus’s baptism. The baptism of Jesus is narrated in all three Synoptic Gospels (Mark 1:9–11, Matthew 3:13–17, and Luke 3:21–22).

John the Baptist, had beforehand long prophesied the coming of the Messiah. John began to preach the principle of repentance of sin and wash his followers in the river. Purification by water was an ancient Jewish tradition called the Mikveh to cleanse one of taboo contamination or as an act of religious conversion.

Jesus was born of two natures, divine and human. He came to show the world how a righteous human should live under God. By undergoing the same ritual as John’s followers, he was showing unity with them. His baptism by John marked the prophecy would come true and marks the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. It was a confirmation of the relationship ofJesus the Messiah to Jewish history. Baptism prepared him for the trials ahead he would endure ultimately at the cross voluntarily devoid of divine power except for sacrifice. He would become the Lamb of God.

At the moment of baptism, the Bible describes the demonstration of the Holy Trinity. Matthew 3:16 describes “The heaven’s open, and the Spirit descended like a dove coming to rest on him.” (This passage also supports the concept the Holy Spirit came from the Father as I previously wrote in this blog) . We hear God saying, “This is my own son with whom I am well pleased.” God confirms Jesus is the Messiah. However, the relevance of baptism does not end there. The act of baptism would become an essential part of Christian transformation, not just as a ritual, but something much more. The union of the baptized Christian to the body of Christ facilitates a spiritual organic union as described in Ephesians 2:10 and in Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:28

Each person has a different role in the world. Our natural inherited abilities are further empowered by our relationship with the Holy Spirit permanently given by baptism. They take maximal effect when we are acting under God’s will. In I Corinthians:I2-13, Paul lists the spiritual gifts of the message of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, spiritual discernment, and interpretation of tongues.

There are those that ask why the unbaptized cannot take communion? Jesus showed us the way to be closer to God and also how to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do good in this world. Encouraging potential followers to avoid baptism is denying them God’s empowerment.

It seems likely the Holy Spirit served to bolster Jesus’ ministry as it does today for all Christians.

Professor Tony Magana

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

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